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Turtles/My Pet Turtle!


I recently got a turtle from a friend. Now I don't know what kind of turtle it is or the gender. But I safety assumed it was a male and named him a Donatello! Anywho, Donatello has been doing so well the past couple of months! He's grown so much. But recently (past two days) he's been scratching at his pebbles at the bottom of his tank, scratching his belly on them too and wiggling his tail (butt). What is he doing exactly? Should I be concerned with his health?

Hi Ciara,

I need more information:  size of tank, type of basking and UVB lights you're using, type of filter, water and basking temperatures, and complete diet.  I'd also like to see a clear picture of the turtle.  You can't care for a turtle properly if you don't know what it is.  

How much has he actually grown?  This can actually be a problem.  Turtles aren't meant to grow fast and if they do it can lead to shell deformities and other problems (another reason I'd like to see a picture).  Once I have more information I can give you better advice.  Thanks!


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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